Cost to install hardwood flooring

Answered by Jeffrey ~ March 13, 2012 ~ Comments

How much might it cost to install and finish approximately 400 sq.ft. of hardwood flooring? I have already purchased the actually flooring material, which is unfinished oak 2" wide boards. Thanks.

Tony ~ Orlando, FL

Jeffrey Anderson

Hi Tony. If you already have the material, the largest variable in estimating your potential flooring installation and finishing cost is usually the room configuration. A simple rectangular or square space permits the hardwood flooring to go in very quickly and the sanding and finishing can normally be done fairly fast as well. However, if the room has numerous offsets, angled walls, or fixtures such as fireplace hearths to work around, the amount of labor involved in the project can rapidly increase.

Your flooring cost can also be affected by the area of the country your home is located in as labor rates often vary across the country. If you live right in Orlando, labor may be a little more expensive than more rural parts of Florida. Lastly, the type of floor finishing you have planned can also play a part in determining your final costs. Just about all unfinished hardwood flooring must be sanded when installation is complete, but the number of finishing steps can fluctuate.

If you want the oak to have a natural appearance, one or two coats of clear sealant might do the trick. However, if you plan on staining the wood, there may be two coats of stain with minor sanding involved between each coat and then another one or two coats of sealant that goes down. Every coat of stain or sealant requires a trip to your home by the hardwood flooring contractor as it can take 12 or more hours for each application to dry. An area subject to high humidity such as Orlando may extend the drying process.

A ballpark cost for installing your oak hardwood flooring would be about $4.50 a square foot. This includes installation, sanding, staining, and applying two coats of sealant. This is a very approximate price -- asking several local hardwood flooring contractors to look at the project and prepare estimates should provide a much more accurate cost.

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